Attack on Paul Pelosi: What we know
The attack has sparked renewed discussions over violent rhetoric against lawmakers, with Democrats urging Republicans to vigorously condemn extremist language in their camp, as well as concerns about lawmakers’ safety.
This is what we currently know about the attack.
DePape was carrying zip ties and tape, sources say
In addition to the zip ties, the suspect also had duct tape on him, according to a law enforcement source. The hammer that Pelosi was allegedly used to attack was brought by DePape, according to a law enforcement source and a senior congressional aide who was briefed on the attack.
No source knew of other weapons found when DePape was arrested. CNN previously reported that DePape allegedly attempted to tie up Pelosi.
Police said DePape entered the home through a back door and it was not clear if he had bypassed security.
CNN previously reported that DePape confronted Pelosi and asked where his wife was, shouting, “Where’s Nancy?” The announcer was not at home at the time of the attack.
Paul Pelosi was able to call 911 early in the attack, a law enforcement source and another source previously familiar with the matter.
San Francisco police entered the home around 2:27 a.m. local time on Friday (5:27 a.m. ET) and found Pelosi fighting with DePape over a hammer, according to the city’s police chief. Officers saw DePape “violently attack” Pelosi with the hammer before taking him to the ground and arresting him.
Fear of political violence renewed
The attack, which came in the home stretch of a mid-term campaign season in which Nancy Pelosi has often been the focus of Republican criticism, has reignited concerns about anti-legislative violence, particularly after the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.
“What makes us think that a party can talk about ‘stolen elections,’ ‘Covid is a hoax,’ ‘this is all a bunch of lies,’ and it doesn’t affect people who might not be as balanced?” US said -President Joe Biden on Friday.
“What makes us think it won’t corrode the political climate?”
GOP Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, who is set to become chairman of the House Oversight Committee when the GOP gains control of the House next year, condemned the attack in comments to CNN on Saturday, saying both Republicans and Democrats need the political tone down rhetoric but acknowledged that he, too, could improve in that regard.
“It’s a very difficult environment out there. You have many people who are so enthusiastic for various political reasons. That puts many politicians in a dangerous position,” he told CNN’s Pamela Brown on CNN Newsroom.
Mixed reaction from Republicans
Several prominent Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have condemned the attack, although some others – notably former President Donald Trump – have remained silent.
When asked by Bash whether his party should do more to dismiss bogus conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and Jan. 6, 2021 riot shared by DePape on social media, Scott did not directly respond.
And Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer, chairman of the GOP’s campaign arm of the House of Representatives, strongly condemned the violence in an interview with CBS on Sunday but refused to commit to running ads against Nancy Pelosi.
Emmer also didn’t want to commit to removing a recent tweet that included a video of him firing a gun that read, “Enjoyed Exercise my Second Amendment Rights … Let’s #FirePelosi,” telling CBS that he disagree that the tweet is dangerous.
DePape has posted several conspiracy theories online
Most of the public posts on DePape’s Facebook page date from 2021. In previous years, DePape also published lengthy smears about religion, including claims that “Jesus is the Antichrist.” None of the public posts seemed to mention Pelosi.
His stepfather, Gene DePape, said David DePape grew up in Powell River, British Columbia and left Canada about 20 years ago to pursue a relationship that took him to California.
People who knew DePape in California described him as an odd character, with one acquaintance, Linda Schneider, a California resident, telling CNN that she had received “really disturbing” emails from DePape in which he was like a “Megalomaniac and so aloof” sounded like reality.”
She said she stopped communicating with him “because it seemed so dangerous,” adding that she recalled him “using biblical justifications to do harm.”
CNN’s Stephen Collinson, Jamie Gangel, Whitney Wild, Daniella Diaz, Shawna Mizelle, Casey Tolan, Curt Devine, Daniel A. Medina, and Majlie de Puy Kamp contributed to this report.
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